Women, Wine, and the Far Country
“And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.” – Luke 15:11-13
Here is my poetic take on the story of the prodigal son from the perspective of the prodigal…
I had somehow convinced myself by the young age of eighteen that my life would be better away from home and on my own. I wanted to taste all the things the buffet of the world had to offer me. Feeling hemmed in, I decided it was time for me to leave. It might have been somewhat presumptuous of me, but I asked my dad for an advance on my inheritance. I remember the saddened love in his eyes as he granted my request. In just a few short days, all of my bags were packed and I was ready to be on my way.
My trip to the city was awesome. There were so many things that I had never seen before. I made some new friends who helped me make the transition to my new life. It was like one huge celebration filled with an unlimited supply of women and wine. We were living the high life.
But things began to change as my money dwindled. The wine ran out and the women ran away. And those who I thought were my friends seemed to have abandoned me. To top it all off, a famine hit the land, and food was hard to come by. I grew very hungry. To make ends meet, I took a job feeding a pack of pigs on a local farm. It was hard work, and for that matter, hard living. I had to sleep in the barn, and the swine slop was all I had to eat. There was no doubt; I had reached my lowest low. One day as I was pouring slop into a feeding trough, I realized that even the servants back home lived in better than I did. In that moment, it was as if I came to my senses. The haze of selfishness that had been clouding my judgment seemed to lift, and I realized how wrong I had been. I decided to go back home and tell dad how I foolishly wasted my inheritance, and that because I had done so, I was no longer worthy to be called His son. I planned to ask him if he would be willing to simply take me on as one of his hired hands.
As I made the trek home, I rehearsed my speech over and over. For some reason, the trip seemed longer this time. As I approached the road at the old home place, I saw my father out in the road. When he saw me, he ran to me with open arms. It certainly was not the greeting I expected. I nervously tried to stutter out my rehearsed speech, but he interrupted me and said, “Hush now my son, there is much to do! We must celebrate! We must kill the fatted calf! For my son who was once lost is now found!
I had replayed over and over in my head what I thought would happen when I returned home. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect a party thrown in my honor. I was expecting rejection but received a royal reception. I expected punishment but instead was lavished with love. My dad held back what I did deserve and gave me things that I did not deserve. Oh to be his child!
The whole thing was a learning experience. I learned that the far country is a dangerous place. Before I left home, the grass always looked greener on the other side. When I returned, I saw how green the grass was at my father’s house.
– Pastor Eric – April 2012